Sofia Partida meets us for lunch at Beverly Hills’ Crustacean restaurant
Sofia Partida is the name behind the brand of one of today’s most exquisite tequila brands.
Her parents came to California in the 1930’s where they established one of the first Mexican farm labor organizations in Northern California. The crews would move from ranch to ranch doing field work, her dad heading up camp while her mother would cook for the workers. Sundays were always an excuse for a party.
It was her uncle, Enrique Partida, one of the ranch laborers, who was nicknamed “Champion” that inspired the perpetuation of the rest of the story.
“He was the first and the last on the field,” Sofia explained to Patterson’s. “He took all his earnings to Mexico and continued to plant agave on our family’s fields, which is now the largest grower in Jalisco.”
Partida’s Highest Level
When you can take agave from a single source, that’s rare. Instead of bidding in the open market, Partida’s agave is family-grown and produced at the Partida distillery, which has been retooled and renovated.
The result is Partida tequila, insistent on high quality, insistent on no additives, no glycerin, no color except the hues imparted from barrel aging.
“The process is costly and labor intensive,” admits Sofia. “We rely on the ripest plants, the exact right time to harvest and the right amount of aging in wood.
The Woman Behind the Brand
Sofia now travels ten to 12 days a month educating trade and consumers on tequila and why Partida is such a quality product. She got started down this path following a fortuitous meeting with San Francisco investor and brand builder Gary Shansby, a pivotal moment in the genesis of Partida Tequila. Shansby, who had been looking to apply his brand-building expertise to the spirits category, found an invaluable resource in the Partida family’s agave fields and historical involvement in the Tequila lifestyle. He worked with Sofia to develop a superior product and institute production practices that would guarantee a consistently high quality product. The result is today’s Partida Tequila.
“People want an experience,” Sofia points out. “Tasting tequila allows people to use all their senses; you can be in the moment and enjoy yourself.”
As we sip the expressive agave spirit together, Sofia urges me to “listen.”
“Think about what the aroma is telling you. Think about the flavors and feel the sensation from the middle to the tip of your tongue.”
In four years of research and development it took to acquire the character she hoped for in the bottle, Partida only came to market about a year and a half ago.
Tequila from Jalisco’s ‘Tequila Valley’
“Partida is an example of Lowlands tequila without the smoke,” notes Sofia, basing her theory on the volcanic soil and clay in this area.
*Partida Blanco exudes earth and minerals, with a sweet molasses, lime agave center that also imparts a cooked yam quality. The sensation was that of melting brown sugar on the back of the tongue.
“Agave ripens faster in the lowlands,” she offers. “Larger hearts, sweeter plants.”
Cooked in stainless steel autoclaves versus the traditional stone, clay or brick ovens acts more like a giant pressure cooker, expressing a cooked agave that has an essentially cleaner essence.
*Partida Reposado intrigues with its subtle nose of creamy toffee and its agave elegance soothes you in an aromatic bliss. The acidity is definitely present: high notes of lime, butterscotch and a molten butter make it most approachable.
*Partida Anejo is a chameleon. Layer upon layer, it sinks deep on your tongue from lime to tart agave to brown sugar to mocha espresso. OK, then there’s the honey and tropical notes.
Sofia, I listened.